Potential to Essential, Part 2

Turning Common Leads into Uncommon Relationships

Last month in the first installment of “Potential to Essential,” I outlined some keys to turning common leads into outstanding customer relationships. If you missed last month’s column. Fire up your PC and direct your browser to www.motorcycleproductnews.com to catch up on what you missed. This month, I pick up where I left off with actions you can take to solidify those outstanding customer relationships.

Subversive Prestige

When suburban kids speak as if they’re a part of the Latin Kings, psychologists call this subversive prestige. They’re attempting to make themselves feel cooler by using the language of these street toughs.

The patois of the biker world is appealing to outsiders as well. When you use motorcycle-speak our “leads” start to feel like they’re on the inside and part of the group. And you helped them do it. This is a great way to build remarkable relationships.  Sprinkle these sayings into your conversations with prospects and watch them grin!

• No replacement for displacement
• Stop on a dime and give you change
• We’re going to get your knees in the breeze
• Chrome won’t get you home
• We’ll have you bustin’ bugs in no time

Be an Object of Interest

Guess who people interact with — people they find interesting. How can you be an object of interest? Well it’s certainly not by bragging about how fascinating you are!

• Ask interesting questions: “What do you think is the best motorcycle of all time?”
• Know something about the bike that they don’t: “Did you know that the belt drive system has the lowest percent of parasitic drag of any of the other common drive systems?
• Leverage the principle of “liking,” i.e., ingratiation. Don’t be afraid to tell the other person what you genuinely like about them: “You have excellent taste in motorcycles.”
• Be interested in them. I can’t say this enough. Don’t tell them about you and your riding experiences. Ask about them: “What do you like about this motorcycle.”  

Gain Trust Fast, Admit Weakness First

One classic psychological principle in which you can gain trust quickly is to admit your weakness first. Every product or service has strengths and weaknesses. It proves you are smart enough to know both sides of an issue and honest enough to put your
weaknesses out front.

Madison Avenue has known this for years:

• L’Oreal: “We’re expensive but worth it.”
• Avis: “We’re second but we try harder.”
•Peace Corp: “Toughest job you’ll ever love.”

You might tell customers:

• “At South City Cycles, we’re not the cheapest. We’re the best.”
• “At Yukon Jack’s Bikes, were not the newest shop; just the most authentic.”
• “With Mark’s Motorcycles, you don’t get fancy; you get the most skilled.”   

Become Adept at the Cliffhanger

In movies, books or television series, that climactic event that leaves you excited to see what happens next is called a cliffhanger. You should get great at cliffhangers. Best when used in email messages, text messages or voicemails, these are designed to do one thing only — get the customer to contact you!

Try, “Just rode the motorcycle you were looking at on Saturday, and I’ve discovered some interesting aspects about it. Give me a call.”
If the customer is looking at a used motorcycle, they will find this absolutely irresistible. And of course what you’ve found out is how well the motorcycle handles, how great the braking is, how terrific the lean angle really is, and the like.

Of course you would never lie to customers. You can’t build a career in sales by doing that (like the F&I guy who fakes calling the lender to get you a better rate). But you can always be on point for these opportunities. For example, let’s say your OEM district manager or service rep is in the store. You should ask him about a couple of the bikes you have on your showroom floor. Often, they have some cool perspective or inside take on the machine you can share with the potential customers who are looking at those specific models.

They’ll often come back with tidbits like, “Yes, that frame design took three years in development.” Or, “That bike was so long it didn’t fit in the standard shipping crate. We had to create one just for this bike.”

Customers love the inside dope on their potential new machines. So look for the positive, off-the-beaten-path stuff when you interact with your factory people. I don’t even care if it is just this person’s opinion: “Yep, we rode that model at the introduction. It was one of my favorites.”
What you can do with that is leave the cliffhanger message described above, and when the person calls back, you can say, “Just spoke with our district manager. Great guy. Knows bikes. At the new model introduction at the Las Vegas Speedway, out of 25 bikes, the one you’re looking at was his favorite. Thought you should know you have picked a great one here.”

This leverages social proof (others think its cool), the principle of authority (OEM guy knows bikes) and the principle of liking (you’ve complimented them on their choice of bikes to consider).

Reasons to Reach Out

Inviting potential customers to a dealership event is a great way to invite customers into your dealership. But if it’s all you do, it’s like listening to a top 40 radio station that plays a song that sounds good at first, but after a while, you’ve heard it.

We need to be able to play more than one song when it comes to turning potentials to essentials. Why? What do you do when you don’t have an event?

Other reasons to touch base include:

• Motorcycling news: did you see who won the race?
• Community news: I see the town is widening the road over by your office
• Business news: Saw your company won an award
• Sporting news: Saw your team won the big game

You’ll also notice that these are ways to continue to establish the relationship. They are designed to do nothing more than keep you connected with the potential buyer.   

Getting Customers into Your Store

This is where you need to expand your repertoire. Here are some additional ways you can reach out to your potentials. They should stop in to see you because:

• There’s a unique motorcycle in store that they should see.
• Important hardcopy information is available: e.g., ride evaluation, company bulletin.
• There’s an interesting person in store, e.g., a technician this person has to meet.
• There’s an aspect of the bike that has to be experienced in person, e.g., the center of gravity, the ease of the clutch, the smooth shifting, the powerful acceleration.

The sales world is changing rapidly. If you want to be successful in the motorcycle business today, you need to know how to effectively cultivate customers.

The days of unlocking the door, turning on the lights and seeing who shows up are long gone. Now it’s about the art of converting common leads into uncommon long-term relationships; from potential to essential. 

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